Are type 2 diabetics out-of-control, chip-eating couch potatoes? Or does diabetes develop first and then cause symptoms such as cravings, fatigue, and weight gain?
Look up scholarly articles and you will find arguments for each side. Some will say obesity causes inflammation and then diabetes. Others will say obesity is a consequence of inflammation. If there are thin people with type 2 diabetes (and there are), does the first theory hold water?
You can read articles galore, but I’ve lived it. Here is my story and interpretation of the cause of type 2 diabetes.
During my school years I was teased and called “skinny chicken.” I can’t say my appetite was bigger than normal or that I had unhealthy habits aside from chasing boys who played the drums or wore black leather jackets . Being from a poor family meant my sisters and I rarely ate fast food. I did, however, have a really strong family history of type 2 diabetes.
How strong? Lets just say there should be diabetes product displays at my family reunions. Diabetes appeared in at least one set of great-grandparents, both sets of grandparents, my mom, my dad, and a multitude of cousins. I would have been shocked if I DIDN’T get it. I would have thought something was seriously wrong with me!
In fact, I was recently sitting around a campfire with many extended family members and we realized all of us (including my very thin police officer cousin) had diabetes. We told scary campfire stories about being diagnosed and what meds we were taking. We had enough metformin there to treat everyone in north and south America.
In my early 20’s I started to have issues with chronic urticaria or hives and had to take long courses of prednisone. While on this medication I gained a LOT of weight and I started to have blood sugar issues. In the DiabeticMommy forum conversations, many of us with type 2 have taken long courses of prednisone and noted issues beginning around that time.
I think I already had a genetic disposition and the prednisone helped flip my biological switches.
Unbeknownst to me, I was developing a resistance to my own insulin. Insulin helps get sugar out of the body but mine was not functioning. Insulin was building up in my system. Not only does insulin clear out sugar, it also signals for carb cravings, fat storage, and prevents fat from being burned. My body was becoming a fat-making machine.
My cravings for carbs became unreal. It felt like somebody gave me a drug. In a sense, I was being drugged by my own excess insulin. It got so bad, I would go to three different fast food drive-throughs and get three large hamburger meals for dinner. And I was STILL hungry! I ate constantly. This was very unusual for me. I gained so much weight, I went from 130 to 280 pounds within months. I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes around this time.
I tried losing weight and failed. I couldn’t understand it. However, when I learned about what insulin was doing in my body and the specific challenges it presented, I was finally able to lose 100 pounds. I learned how to stop these out-of-control cravings.
So from my own experience, I would say something happened in my body that caused insulin resistance and weight gain. Once I understood this concept, my quality of life improved. Regardless of whether obesity caused diabetes or diabetes caused the obesity, somewhere along the way I ended up in a situation where my body was working against me.